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Iran calls for easing of sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that the West should ease some of its sanctions against Iran in advance of the next round of nuclear talks in Baghdad in May. Salehi told ISNA on Monday: "The West should move toward building confidence leading up to the Baghdad negotiations and take steps to ease sanctions."

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (file photo)

He added: "In Istanbul, both sides agreed to spend the time in advance of the next meeting laying out a step-by-step roadmap that both sides can agree upon, and for every step we take, they will also take a step."

The United States announced on Monday that it will maintain the sanction on Iran until the next talks.

U.S. Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton told reporters in Brasilia: "I believe in action for action but I think in this case the burden of action falls on the Iranians to demonstrate their seriousness, and we are going to keep the sanctions in place and the pressure on Iran as they consider ... what they'll bring to the table in Baghdad, and we'll respond accordingly."

The two sides met in Istanbul on April 14. Both sides described the talks as positive and constructive and announced that they will hold the next round in Baghdad on May 24.

The U.S. has also announced that, far from easing sanctions, it will in fact ratchet them up this summer.

The U.S. and the EU have now imposed sanctions on Iran's financial institutions as well as its oil exports.

The West suspects that Iran's nuclear program may include a nuclear component. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are all peaceful and it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.

Clinton: ‘Burden’ on Iran to Show Seriousness in Nuclear Talks
Source: VOA

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dismissed Iran's offer to resolve international concerns about its nuclear program if the West starts lifting sanctions, saying the “burden of action” is on Tehran to make the first move.

Speaking Monday on a visit to Brasilia, Clinton said Iran must demonstrate “seriousness” in upcoming nuclear negotiations with six world powers, due to be held in Iraq in late May. She said the United States will keep sanctions in place and maintain pressure on Iran as it considers what to offer at the talks and will “respond accordingly” to any Iranian proposal.

Meanwhile, Reuters news agency reports Denmark's foreign minister as saying there is no room for easing sanctions on Iran until it takes steps to comply with demands on its nuclear program. Denmark holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama insisted that his administration did not “give away anything” to Iranian negotiators in Istanbul. Speaking to reporters in Cartagena, Colombia, where he attended the Summit of the Americas, he defended Washington's decision to continue to push for a diplomatic resolution of the dispute about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Obama said that while he refused to let the negotiations turn into a “stalling process,” he was willing to give diplomacy one last chance. The president was responding to remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said earlier Sunday that the United States and world powers gave Tehran a “freebie” by agreeing to hold another round of talks next month in Baghdad.

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